On a Saturday in August, I visited two farmers markets near Pine Knoll Shores. First I stopped at the Morehead City Curb Market on the corner of 13th and Evans streets. This oldest continuously operating curb market in North Carolina left me with a nostalgic feeling. Starting out on 12th Street in Morehead City’s Promise Land, the market moved into the current building on 13th Street in the 1930s.
On Saturdays this market was a gathering place where local farmers sold their produce and local people came to shop and visit. I remember in the 1950s a buzz of activity. There were shellers in each farmer’s section, with the sounds of peas and butter beans dropping into enamelware bowls and laughter and hawking by different vendors. There were no supermarkets at that time.
Although there are fewer individual farm stands, the tradition of cottage sellers—small farms, sometimes backyard gardeners, cooks who share fresh baked treats from their home kitchen, soap makers and jewelry artisans—is retained here. Inside the building a sewing machine was set up for custom requests. The Farm at Bogue was there, and Stacy Macklin, Business Director of the Carteret Local Food Network, displayed beautiful summer vegetables from several local small farmers. I left with oatmeal coconut cookies, a slice of key lime pie and a sausage and cheese snack on a stick, all from Karen’s Baked Goods. Her small apple spice bundt cakes were delicious. I must confess that I brought none of this home with me. It disappeared in my car on the way to Beaufort. The little dolphin soaps I found would make great gifts, and there were lavender goat milk soaps that had my name on them.
Founded in 2019, newbie Olde Beaufort Farmers’ Market was set up under the trees on the courthouse square. Joe Merrill, a local fixture, sat at his large farm stand. Nearby was a scrumptious-looking display from Harlowe Custom Microgreens. Across from Joe, Ocean Air Hemp Farm of Gloucester offered mosquito balms and soothing oils. Nearby, Doggie Gossip sold “all natural good stuff for dogs.” I bought the freshest shrimp from Darden’s Seafood and a lovely small bromeliad that only needs misting. A gardener, I found delight in the many creative and decorative outdoor designs. There was a different ambiance here and a greater variety of artisan goods, and it is worth checking out 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday, rain or shine.
Having ordered a small Veggie Van CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box from Carteret County Local Food Network, I stopped back by the Curb Market on my way home to pick it up (I didn’t want to leave it in my hot car while I browsed the market in Beaufort). I was surprised with a honeydew melon, a small watermelon, zucchini, winter squash, and an Italian eggplant. Chef Caroline Dominguez, Mobile Market Manager, let me grab a handful of gorgeous dark green basil for seasoning. CSA boxes come in two sizes and combine produce from several small farms. There is something wholesome about foods freshly picked, especially for me. There are several pickup locations. To find out about this resource, visit CarteretLocalFoodNetwork.org or call 252-777-2359.
As a society we have returned full circle to farm fresh and homemade, strongly supported by Carteret County and you.
Shared with permission from Sara Barabee and The Shoreline
Edited to correct name misspelling and job title - 9/7/2020